Maidstone fire "suspicious", linked to earlier car fires: police

Catherine Neilan
Follow Catherine
Maidstone fire: The scene last night, when 15 fire engines attempted to put out the blaze (Source: Kent Fire and Rescue)
A “suspicious” fire that broke out in Maidstone, Kent late last night could be linked to an earlier incident in which five cars were set alight nearby, police have said.
A fire was reported at 2:11am at The Works bookshop on Week Street, in the centre of the town. It spread to adjoining properties and affected all three floors of the original premises, according to Kent Police.
Both the store itself and the neighbouring shops, which include a branch of travel agent Thomson, have been damaged by the fire.
The blaze is now under control, although at its peak 15 fire engines had been called to the scene. By 8am this morning just three remained.
Around one hour before that incident was reported, five cars had been set on fire in nearby Buckland Road and Somerfield Road.
A Kent Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "Firefighters have made good progress in tackling this very large fire which has affected four shops in Maidstone High Street... There are no casualties reported. Properties in the area have been evacuated and Maidstone High Street and Week Street are currently closed."